El McMeen, Fingerstyle Guitarist,
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El McMeen’s artistry has been praised in numerous publications, including the NY Daily News, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and Guitar Player Magazine. His music has been hailed by critics as “stirring … unbridled acoustic beauty” and “drop-dead gorgeous” (Guitar Player Magazine) and as a “treasure” (Dirty Linen Magazine).
While he plays in many styles, El’s music focuses on beautiful melodies, and his up-tempo pieces reflect a joyful, toe-tapping pulse. He emphasizes touch, tone, and phrasing. He specializes in rhythmic flexibility and often employs harp-like arpeggios in many different genres of music, Celtic, spiritual, and pop.
El’s composition and performance of “Le Mans” won First Prize (Instrumental) in the 6th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards contest in 2009.
El is a member of the “AMERICAN GUITAR MASTERS” series of programs


El is on Bandcamp!

El’s recent albums, including his newest digital download “Live and Personal”


El’s recordings, “Breakout,” “The Lea Rig,” and “Solo Guitar Serenade,” are listed among the “100 Greatest Acoustic Guitar Albums.”
El’s books of guitar pieces, including several major folios written or co-written for Mel Bay Publications.
El’s DVD lessons for Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.

Follow, Watch, Stream and Listen

Visit Songwhip link below to see links of all Els’ streaming sites



On Guitar

I’d like to offer a few general comments that relate to my own playing and musical interests, that may be helpful to you or stimulating to your thinking about music.
In the course of rendering music that is meaningful to me, I like to exploit the special attributes of the guitar, those that distinguish it from certain other instruments (in some cases, for example, the piano; in others, the harp). I use vibrato and sustained notes, hammer-ons and pull-offs, string snapping, slides, harmonics, unison notes and string bends. I combine those techniques with arpeggios and cross-string picking, counterpoint, and walking bass lines. (Cross-string picking means basically playing sequential notes on different strings of the guitar, rather than on the same string.)
I play with a combination of flesh and nails, and use a thumb pick to give strength to my bass lines. The thumb pick brings ease to my arpeggiation across the strings, and forces my fingers to play with maximum power, to raise the overall volume of the instrument, and thereby to allow for a greater dynamic range in my playing.  I find it appealing to play musical phrases “rubato” (with rhythmic flexibility), probably because of my background in a cappella choral singing. Playing freely lets the music breathe, and altering speed, attack and dynamics, as appropriate, help bring drama and urgency to the tune–which helps to maintain the interest of the listener (and the player!)
Here’s a suggestion for your vibrato. Try working the fretted string back and forth across, rather than parallel to, the fingerboard, using only the fretting finger, without the palm or thumb of the left hand as an anchor in back of the guitar neck. Mastering this difficult technique can enhance one’s playing greatly.

Producing Other Guitarists

El has personally assisted scores of guitarists in finding and developing their own voice on the instrument. He has produced/co-produced recordings for talented players, and has spent 100’s of hours in various studios on his own and other guitarists’ recordings.


In 2020, and moving forward, El has decided to return to working with fingerstyle guitarists in their efforts to create memorable guitar recordings.


He has instituted this procedure: he will receive one or two mp3 submissions from interested guitarists, review them without charge, and advise as to whether he feels he could be helpful in their recording efforts. He will quote a fee for the work anticipated, half of which will be payable in advance and is non-refundable. Travel and lodging expenses will be extra, and payable in advance.


For guitarists with whom El works, he will provide without charge copies of such of his own sheet music and/or recordings that he feels would be helpful to the particular guitarist in developing and honing his or her own arrangements and compositions.


Testimonials from guitarists to whom El has rendered assistance over the years.

Shop CDs, DVDs, and Books

El has recorded numerous albums of guitar music, many of which are available in both digital and physical format (downloads, CD’s, and thumb drives). El’s primary portal for his downloadable music is El’s Bandcamp Page.  There are other portals, including Amazon, and numerous streaming services, including Spotify and Pandora. For CD’s/thumb drives, or books of guitar music, please contact El directly through our contact page.
All of El’s albums of guitar music, most of which are available in digital and physical format through Amazon. For releases not distributed through Amazon please contact El directly.
All of El’s instructional and performance DVD’s are available through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.
El has written numerous books of music, and many individual transcriptions of tab/music for guitarists. His Mel Bay books are available through stores and online sites. His other books of tab/music, and his sheet music, are available for purchase through SheetMusicPlus.
El’s seminal book of music for string trio (violin, viola, and cello), called Celtic Treasures for String Trio, is available for purchase through SheetMusicPlus.